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MacArthur signs off on new airline’s Puerto Rico flights

National Airlines provided this image of their B757-200

National Airlines provided this image of their B757-200 aircraft on Friday, Feb.19, 2016, that will be used starting July 1, 2016, when it launches service between Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip and two destinations in Puerto Rico. Credit: National Airlines Public Relations

Long Island MacArthur Airport and National Airlines have reached agreement on the airline’s plans to begin offering flights to Puerto Rico, an Islip Town spokeswoman said Friday.

The Orlando-based airline is now “officially a partner” with MacArthur, which is owned and operated by the town, spokeswoman Caroline Smith said in an email.

Details of the negotiated agreement weren’t immediately available.

According to MacArthur’s website, National will begin providing regular service to Puerto Rico on June 1, a month earlier than the airline said when it announced plans for the service last month.

National intends to provide six weekly nonstop roundtrips to Puerto Rico — four to San Juan and two to Aguadilla, leaving Ronkonkoma in the morning and returning later in the day.

The carrier, which launched scheduled passenger service in the United States about four months ago after years of operating cargo and charter flights, has been rapidly expanding from its base in Florida and now flies to several Canadian locations.

It will be the third airline to operate out of MacArthur, joining Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, which offer service to four Florida cities, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Town and airport leaders had been courting new carriers to revive the struggling airport, which has lost more than half of its daily flights and nearly half of its annual passengers since 2007.

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